Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Boys of Summer

Oh how I love rec league baseball. Sitting there in the bleachers, watching the little kids try so hard. Watching their skills and confidence develop a tiny bit as the season progresses. Here is a picture of Rob playing ball this year. I have him signed up for "fall ball," and am looking forward to more baseball!

Update: Fall ball was a rousing success. Rob's team won the season championship and the tournament. And who - WHO, I ask you - scored the winning run in the final game of the tournament? Yeah, you got that right...

Slip Slidin' Away

Summer is sliding away quickly. Each year when school gets out, summer stretches ahead forever...an amazing two months. But like all really good things, it zips by. I try not to sit around the house too much, even though napping is a great thing. Daytime TV is like some wicked vortex into another dimension, so I avoid it despite the siren calls of HGTV and TLC.

We have been from one end of the state to the other. We visited the newly renovated aquarium. It was extremely crowded, which I suppose is a good thing. Except for the 20ish chick sitting near the entrance who commented on my new Crocs. I believe she told her posse, "Those are the ugliest things I've ever seen." Because I like to be nice and helpful to the young, I turned and asked, "Don't you have a mirror?" Bad, bad, bad.

As a nod to being "life-long learners" (eduspeak), we have visited the natural history museum and the art musuem. To keep Banana Boat and Panama Jack in business, we have spent quite a bit of time in the neighbor's pool (even when they aren't home - great neighbors!).

Two trips to the zoo were fun, except for that trip to urgent care to get stitches in the back of Joseph's head. He tried to sit on a metal pole rail and flipped over backwards, cracking his head on a rock. Ugh, sound. Like dropping a coconut from a ledge. Ugh, the blood. It was naaasty. He is very proud of the three staples he now sports, and enjoys telling the tale to anyone who stands still long enough, regardless of whether or not he knows them. Did you know that it is no longer common practice to shave around the cut before stitching? Something about the razor transporting germs from the skin into the wound. So instead, there were small clumps of hair caught in the staples. Hair that stiffened with dried blood. Stylish, yet disgusting.

And here we are riding the carousel. Afterwards we had hot donuts at Krispy Kreme, and then went to the farmer's market for some good food to offset the donuts. As if anything can offset a half-dozen KKs?

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Cabin

When I talk about our cabin, I refer to it as "rustic." For those who may question my powers of description, or have mental images of a quaint log cabin, here is a picture. Small, not fancy, but I love it. It is located close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is fabulous. A national treasure.

There is one bedroom, a main room that incorporates a kitchen area and a seating area, and a loft where the kids like to sleep. There is a bathroom, of sorts, where you will find the famous Envirolet composting toilet. I call it the catbox because it is basically an indoor outhouse. Works great and is a significant improvement over the real outhouse which sits nearby, still fully functional (as long as you like spiders).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stone Mountain State Park

This is Stone Mountain State Park, located near Elkin, NC. In case it isn't obvious from the pictures, it is so named because the majority of the mountain is solid granite, mostly overlaid with soil that has fostered lovely forests. However, there are many vast expanses of exposed rock.

First we hiked down the waterfall trail. The "trail" was actually a long, long, long staircase. Did I mention long? "Waterfall" is a misnomer, because the water doesn't fall, but sluices 200 feet down a steep granite slope.

I'm not sure that this picture gives you an appropriate appreciation of the steepness of that slope. It was dramatically impressive. Note that I wore my new Crocs. They did fine on the hike and were quite grippy, though the spouse was skeptical.
At the bottom of the waterfall was a shallow pool where Rob enjoyed playing. Then I had the particular pleasure of carrying him part of the way back up the stairs. Boy did my calves ache the next day! That kid weighs 63 pounds! Just call me StairMaster.

The hike up the mountain was noted as "strenuous" on the map. Walking through the woods on a gentle incline I thought to myself, "Strenuous? HA! This is easy."

Yeah, right, easy. That was just before we hit the first of several long, steeply inclined slabs of slick granite. Even then, going up was not nearly as gut-wrenching as coming down. The granite just continues, getting steeper and steeper off-trail, often becoming vertical. It was important to stay on the trail.

There was one area I dubbed "the moon" because the granite was pocked with large craters that held water from a rain storm the day before our visit.

It was amazingly beautiful at the top, as you can see from the picture to the right. I could have stayed there for hours. There were a half-dozen large birds swirling and diving in the thermal updrafts. The spouse kindly identified them as "Buzzards!" I think "ravens" would have fit the mood a bit better.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Toothless Wonder Boy

Rob sports his new look. I'm sure this grimace will really attract the 8 & under chicks in the neighborhood. Wonder how long it will be before he figures out he can drink through a straw stuck in that gap?

Grandfather Mountain

On top of ol' Smokey...
Well, not really, this is on top of ol' Grandfather Mountain. 'Twas a lovely day, cool and sunny. I crossed the "mile high swinging bridge" which had scared me on my last visit, at age 12. Rob ran right across. It was crowded there at the very top of the mountain, which was nerve-wracking, because kids, there isn't much room to walk around up there. Don't want anyone getting pushy.

We hiked quite a bit on the various trails and Rob seemed to be in the best shape of us all! We are not as close to a sharp dropoff as the pics imply, but it was impressive all the same. Now every time we head upt to our cabin Rob says, "That's Grandfather Mountain!"


A few pics from our trip to Snowshoe, WV. Top is Rob and neighbor Katie in their "ski school." They learned quickly and well. Next two pics are me, Mac and Rob. My ski bibs were brown. I told everyone that when I fell I looked like a giant poo. I fell a LOT... The little kids did great, and took off down the mountain on their own. Mac tried snowboarding, but found skiing more to his liking. I nearly fainted when I caught him coming off the black diamond terrain slope. I am proud to say that before the end of the trip, I accomplished my goal of getting off the chairlift without falling.